No one to fill my shoes: narrative practices of three ageing Australian male farmers Academic Article uri icon


  • ABSTRACTAgeing Australian farmers face many uncertainties associated with wider social, economic and climate change. Significantly for many farmers, ageing means the end not only of a life-long occupation but the end of the farm that has often been in the family for many generations. In turn, the prospect of this discontinuity breaches long-held cultural images of Australian farming and farmers. For individual male farmers approaching retirement age, the lack of succession and discontinuation of the family's ownership of, and attachment to the land, poses threats for social and personal identity. This paper examines the narratives of three male, baby-boom Australian farmers to tease out the impact of ageing and the possible loss of the family farm on the ways that they construct their situations and their self-identity. It illustrates the narrative practices that these men employ as they work to validate their self-identities within particular narrative environments, and through a range of outmoded and contemporary material conditions that mediate their selves and lives. The approach exemplified in this paper focuses on the processes and phases of analysis to show how the farmers craft their narrative as well as the individuality, complexity and coherence of their accounts.

publication date

  • 2017